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Getting started with the Atom Editor (and tips for switching from Vim)

Today I started working with the awesome Atom Editor instead of my usual tool MacVim.

Atom is open source and free, produced by the people at GitHub. To introduce Atom, what can I say that they can't say for themselves?

Atom is a desktop application based on web technologies. Like other desktop apps, it has its own icon in the dock, native menus and dialogs, and full access to the file system.

Open the dev tools, however, and Atom's web-based core shines through. Whether you're tweaking the look of Atom's interface with CSS or adding major features with HTML and JavaScript, it's never been easier to take control of your editor.

So basically Atom is a code editor built on top of a browser. Meaning, as a web developer you already have all the skills needed to extend the code base, or write a custom Atom package (plugin). Due to Atom being based on a browser engine (Blink) you even have the usual Chrome developer tools available to you!

Atom Editor preview showing Dev Tools

Why Change?

The main reasons I am trying out a new editor are:

  • Ease of use - Vim is powerful but can be painful too
  • Packages - Atom is easy to extend and has a large community, no Pathogen or Vundler required
  • Customisation - I'm a web developer, making packages easy to write
  • Teamwork - Many colleagues don't know Vim, or at least everyone has different key bindings
  • Look and feel - Atom is beautiful

Some Tips for Beginners

Key Combinations

Arguably the most attractive feature of Vim is the powerful key combinations + motions. For example, in Vim you can type 10dd to delete the next 10 lines. Atom does not have this built in, although there is of course a package for that, many of the more common combinations are available by default. A few useful ones that helped me switch are:

Day one on the Opera Mobile Store...

At the beginning of 2015 I decided to host my mobile applications Elite Ice Hockey Action and DEL Action on the Opera Mobile Store.

This is the new App Store for Nokia X devices along with other Android platforms such as Yandex.

After uploading my application and releasing it for free download, these were the download statistics I received after day 1.

Opera Mobile Store download statistics

It looks like the Opera Mobile Store is being heavily crawled by bots to find new Apps and marketing information.

Inspirational words...

“To set high goals, to have almost unattainable aspirations, to imbue people with the belief that they can be achieved — these are as important as the balance sheet, perhaps more so”

Joseph C. Wilson (Founder of the Xerox Corporation)

© Blake Simpson, 2012 – 2017